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Opus the Poet says
Since everybody looks like a kid now except for the people pushing or above 60, I just call every female “Ma’am”. The kids love it and the older ones don’t mind.
StuartLohe (@StuartLohe) says
It’s not that they are old, the kid us just young 😊
Clay, this is just great. “I’m good with it.” Yeah! Take the win!
Great life advice. So not something I can personally do, but would share with others.
wait what’s going on? i’ve seen a lot of cases both in fiction and in real life where even older people call younger people sir/ma’am/madame. i’ve never seen or even imagined a situation where it’s actually offensive/rude/impolite/audacious for anyone to call someone else sir/ma’am/madame
In my customer service job I address women as “miss” and I’ve had a couple of them thank me for not saying ma’am. I have no idea why anyone would object to it but apparently a fair number of women do.
I haven’t noticed the same with sir, incidentally.
It bugs me when people call me sir, even though I am a 69 year old (cis) man. It makes me think they see me as old, or someone they have to show respect to, when I would rather just be seen a a person like them. I recognize the issue is more complex for women, and even more for those whose personal pronouns might not be what you expect, but even I would rather be seen as a person than as a member of some group (old, men, whatever). Nevertheless less, I can see the good in the character saying “I’m good with it”. A glimpse into another world view.
Forms of address tend to be rather awkward. “Sir” can apply to any man, but “Miss” tends to apply to younger or unmarried women, while “Ma’am” tends to apply to older or married women. It can be uncomfortable to guess which one applies, as you don’t want to inadvertently insult the other person, and it can be considered sexist to address a woman regarding her age or marital status.
Yes, it’s unnecessarily awkward, and it would be nice to have a feminine form of address that didn’t go into all of that, but that’s unfortunately how it is in this society.
Me, I don’t care whether someone calls me “miss” or “ma’am”, as long as they don’t say, “hey, bitch!” I’m fine.
Thank you for taking the time to provide the exaination on ma’am v miss. It brings to mind a For better or worse where .. Elly? Is asked if she goes by Ms. Mrs. Miss or Mizzz.
When I was in high school at one point the students began ironically calling some of the male teachers “sir”, as though they were police officers or drill sergeants (implying that they were being too authoritarian) but it backfired. Students began calling the teachers “sir” on a regular basis, unironically.
I’ve called all my male teachers sir when i was in high school/secondary school, undergrad and grad. What’s wrong with this? That’s what everyone else did…
It might be a bit of a rare case, but I’m a trans man and was nowhere near passing since I hadn’t even started HRT yet. This one kid would constantly call me ma’am and it was an invalidating slap to the face every time, especially since I couldn’t correct him. I’d imagine non-binary folks who don’t use feminine pronouns might not like it either.
Sir is, miss-gendering issues aside, not inappropriate to any male. Ma’am v madam are functionally the same, and miss is for young women. None of that ackowledges the complications and risk of misgendering, or miss-addressing a person who cares. France is also dealing with this (or was a few years back) as women didn’t like having to select Madame vs Mademoiselle (miss) on government paperwork forms. And to be fair, it’s (titles) really rather irrelevant. At an armchair guess, this is all a hold-over from a classist society where station equated to importance/value as a human being, which is b.s. That said, having a universal sign of respect word to indicate a measure of respect for whom you are addressing would not be amiss. As we covered in my annual ethics classes in the army: how do you address someone transitioning in uniform? Ans: how they want to be addressed. It ain’t hard, and unintentional mistakes can be remedied with intentional (and sincere) apologies.
Also, do my eyes play tricks, or are both her heels off the ground because she’s floating after being called “ma’am”? It’s very sweet.
Amy ☣ says
This makes me think of a friend I’ve lost touch with (she’s the cousin of an ex), but one night the three of us went out to dinner together and when it came time to pay, she put it on her card. The card still had her dead name on it because she’d only just started dressing femme in public, and when the server brought the card back after charging it, she automatically handed it to my (then) boyfriend because he was the only one at the table she felt fit the name on the card. To say my friend was extremely happy as we left the restaurant that night was an understatement.
Dana W says
Oh fuck yes. Love Ma’am. After 20+ years I joke that I’m the only 56 year old woman who LIKES being called Ma’am
Dana W says
Should say the only one I know.